The Guy in the Window by Cara Dee
Title: The Guy in the Window
Genre: MM Romance
Pairing: GFY/May to December/OFY
I was in the middle of my divorce when Adam messaged me. I believe his exact words were, “Hi. I think you’re my dad’s brother. Would you like to get to know me?”
My brother and I had never been close, so I’d only met his adopted son a few times when he was very young. Instinct told me to ignore the message, and I did. For a few days. It took an exhausting fight with my soon-to-be ex-wife and half a bottle of whiskey for me to change my mind. Adam first became “sort of my nephew.” Next, he became the guy who helped me find an apartment in the building next to his. He was a sweet, cheerful young man doing his best to raise his four-year-old daughter, which led to him becoming the guy who wanted to help me patch up my relationship with my own daughter.
Then one night as I got ready for bed, I looked across the alleyway to the next building, where I saw him getting ready for bed too. I couldn’t look away to save my life.
It was the night he also became the guy in the window.
She put a hand to her chest, concern taking over. “So, it’s true? You and Melinda are getting divorced?”
I cleared my throat and adjusted my tie. “Let’s not waste time on office gossip, Margaret. Yes, it’s true. That will be all.”
“Of course, sir.” She made a quick exit.
I took another sip and dug out a bottle of painkillers from my top drawer.
It was going to be a long day.
After swallowing two pills, I pulled up my usual browser windows and started with Facebook. A desperate “just in case” my daughter had messaged.
“Fuck.” There was a message, one I’d hoped wouldn’t arrive. God, I was a fool. Why had I responded to Adam last night? That’s what I got for drinking half a bottle of whiskey on an empty stomach. My elbow hit the table, and I covered part of my face with a hand, leaving me to peek between my fingers. Regret flooded me and tasted of battery acid.
“Might as well get it over with,” I muttered and clicked on the message.
I winced at the length of it and retrieved my reading glasses from my briefcase.
Good morning. I read your message a few times last night but wasn’t sure what to say. I guess a few warning bells have gone off. But duly noted, I won’t let my daughter slip through my fingers. Is that what’s happened to you? If that’s the case, I’m sorry. You should do something about it because you never know when it’s too late.
Thanks for wishing the family well, hollow as the sentiment was, but I’m not on speaking terms with anyone in the family anymore. It was one of the reasons I sought you out. I figured, if there’s someone our family doesn’t like, he must be a decent man. But then you took four days to respond, and I’m wondering if you were drunk when you finally did. In which case, I’m willing to bet you never intended to respond at all. Alcohol, huh?
I’m gonna pretend to be your nephew for a moment and give you some advice. Don’t project your own shitty relationship with your daughter on to others. Kids don’t leave their parents for no reason.
I won’t bother you again, but hey, I wish you well! Adam
I sat back and removed my glasses, in utter shock. The hostility radiated off the screen, and his biting remarks hit too close to home. I’d been trying to get closer to Grace for so long. The last thing I needed was some young punk who painted me as a deadbeat father.
He was not getting the last word, that was for damn sure.
Slipping on my glasses again, I thought about my response and then let my fingers flit across the keyboard.
Adam, You are correct. I had no intention whatsoever of answering your message. But as you pointed out: alcohol, huh? I’m currently going through a divorce, so I suppose I wasn’t in the right mind-set yesterday. Whiskey made it worse, as did my hangover today, as did reading your remarks on my daughter. Don’t speak of things of which you have no knowledge. Grace is my world. Congratulations on not being part of our family. I believe we will end things here. Everett
There. I nodded, satisfied.
“No, no, no.” I leaned forward when I saw he was typing. Fucking hell, no. Could I block the punk? I truly wanted it to be over. We didn’t know each other. “Stop typing,” I barked at the screen. We didn’t have to be in each other’s lives, and we certainly didn’t have to continue this passive-aggressive bitch fight.
I groaned as his message popped up.
I killed the light in the bathroom and got undressed, then snuck under the covers without giving Adam’s bedroom another glance.
Okay, I peeked once. He had big windows too, I noted—though not arched ones. Movement caught my eye, and I couldn’t help it. Adam was entering his bedroom again. He tilted his head and stayed in front of his TV for a moment, and right there, in the light from the screen, I saw him so vividly. The hard planes of his chest, his defined abs. I traced the lines with my eyes and felt my fingers twitch, and it was the strongest urge. Holy hell, I hadn’t felt that in years. The urge to draw.
Yeah, draw your nephew. Nothing weird about that.
I flinched and scrubbed my hands over my face. In my very weak defence, there was nothing nefarious about my thoughts. It was appreciation. I could admire something, could I not? I peered across the alleyway again and was trapped by the vision of him shedding his sweatpants. My jaw ticked, and I was reeling; warning bells went off, and a voice in the back of my mind shouted at me. But I couldn’t look away. Adam was fucking unreal. He draped his sweats over the back of a chair, completely naked in the comfort of his own bedroom. He had no idea I was watching him. Staring at him. Why was I staring?
The voice started sounding panicked, yet I refused to decipher the words. Instead, I catalogued his appearance. His thighs and legs, his lean torso, his broad shoulders, how his biceps grew thicker when he drew a hand through his hair.
He was art. He would’ve fit in with the million other things I used to fill my sketchbooks with when straight lines and CAD work weren’t fulfilling enough. I’d drawn people, expressions, and stolen moments, innocuous things like parks and wildlife, and everyday objects. A book left on the subway, the shadow work of the sun filtering through tree branches, a man losing his scarf in the February wind of Chicago, my daughter… I’d drawn Grace many times, always when she wasn’t looking. When she wasn’t posing.
At some point, I’d finished a sketchbook without buying a new one.
Adam climbed into bed and leaned back against the propped pillows, one arm behind his head, the covers pooling at his waist. The light that gave his bedroom a bluish glow flashed again as he surfed the channels. After a while, he kicked off his covers, and I nearly choked on the saliva in my mouth.
Stop fucking looking.
He adjusted himself with an absent downward stroke and pulled up one of his knees.
Too private, too private, there are goddamn limits.
I felt myself flush with heat..
I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
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